We’re all about young stars and musicians on the rise, and DJ Salerno may already be at the time. Performing this year at Camplified, Mikey is no stranger to big audiences. He’s already performed with the likes of LMFAO, Ke$ha, the Jonas Brothers, and yes, even Justin Bieber!
DJ Salerno is 15-year-old Mikey Salerno, and we got to interview him about his career and his upcoming experiences with Camplified. Check it out below!
Fanlala: Have you ever been to camp before? If so, what was it like?
DJ Mikey: I went to day camp when I was like 8 and I loved it. My favorite part of it all was the talent show, I got to play drums made out of pots and pans. I made so many friends, we went on really cool trips and sang the best camp songs. On the bus ride home I used to always fall asleep and wake up with my face stuck to the seat.
F: If you could only bring three things to camp, what would they be?
DJ M: #1 - I must bring my guitar, cause I bring it everywhere I go and can’t really live without it. #2 - My full DJ set up, which includes my turntables, PA system, computer with my 10,000 song library, mixer, amps, speakers, subs, lasers, strobe lights, smoke machine…this all counts as one item ‘cause it’s my “DJ Set Up”…right? This way I can turn every night at the camp into an all night electronic music festival. #3 - An unlimited supply of french fries, no wait I mean Nutella, no wait reeses, no penne w/vodka sauce…oh man, this is harder than I thought.
F: Do you know how to make a campfire?
DJ M: Heck yeah…First you get a case of those duraflame logs, 1 gallon of gas and a flare gun. Then you get a bunch of rocks and make a big circle, put the logs in the middle, pour the gas on top and shoot it with the flare gun from 200 feet away... Then you call the fire department.
F: What would you rather cook on the campfire, s’mores or hot dogs?
DJ M: Most people don’t know that I am a professional s’mores maker and many have said that my s’mores are the best they ever had. But you MUST use Nutella and the big giant marshmallows…you can’t overcook them cause then it gives you third degree burns on your tongue and u will probably have to go to the hospital.
F: Who are you excited to see perform at Camplified and what inspired you to do the tour?
DJ M: I was really stoked to see Trevor Jackson perform and it turned out that he asked me to DJ for him as well as accompany him on guitar for his show at Camp Rolling River. It was an awesome show. He is an amazing artist and I predict that he will be the next Usher or Chris Brown! Legit!
I found out about Camplified back in 2009 when I did the tour with JAX (then called Meadowland). We met so many great kids and gained thousands of fans. For young, unsigned musicians, it’s not easy to find places to play that kids can attend…Camplified puts you in front of thousands of kids. Each night after a show, we would log onto our Facebook and Twitter and watch our likes and followers rocket up.
This year, Karlee Roberts asked me to be her DJ and guitarist for her tour….yo - get your geek on Karlee!! I was honored to perform with this amazing 12 year old artist, so of course I said yes….But then it got even better, Camplified asked me to be the resident DJ of the tour and so again, of course I said yes.
F: How did you get your start in DJing?
DJ M: Its kinda a long story...but here goes: I started playing guitar when I was 7, never really took lessons, just listened to a song and then played it by ear. I met Jax (JaxWantsYou.com) when I was about 10 and I have been her lead guitarist ever since. We have done over 200 shows together and plan on doing a lot more in the future. Becoming rock stars is our full time job. So I grew up on all kinds of music but I definitely have heavy influences from rock, but I discovered electronic dance music about 3 years ago when I was 12. I started mashing songs up and remixing stuff. In between sets at our concerts, I would DJ to entertain the crowd while the bands got on and off stage. It took off from there…when I’m not performing with Jax, I am spinning at private parties, teen clubs and festivals.
F: How old were you when you got your first turn table?
DJ M: I got my first set of turntables about 3 years ago when I was 12. My dad showed me the old school way DJ’s would work….i was like, “What’s that big black vinyl looking thing with the lines on it?” I could not believe that DJ’s would carry around thousands of records in milk crates…I have about 10,000 songs on my iPod. I would need a dump truck to carry around that many records to my gigs.
F: How did you learn to DJ, did you have someone teach you how?
DJ M: Like just about everything else I do that is related to music, I taught myself. I have ADD and I hate reading directions or following instructions, I like to use my hands and push buttons and turn knobs. I figured out how stuff works by trying it out and seeing what happens. My teachers in school don’t really agree with my approach but that’s who I am…deal with it. So while I was learning, I would just turn up the bass real loud so my whole house would shake…if it felt really good, it sounded real good. Last year I got Logic Pro and I have been producing my own tracks, mixes and beats. Something about a really grimy bass drop in a dubstep song that gives me goose bumps….kinda the same way an Eddie VanHalen guitar solo does.
F: Who is your favorite DJ?
DJ M: Dadda Life are 2 DJ/producers from Sweden, that create the most insane electronic dance songs. When they DJ in front of like 100,000 people and get every single one of them to pump their fists to the beat, it’s a work of art. During their shows, they inflate these giant Bananas and Champagne glasses and their concerts are very much like a party that is out of control.
F: Which artist would you love to open for and why?
DJ M: That’s really tough ‘cause I have already performed with so many great artists. When we opened for Justin Bieber in front of 18,000 people, that’s pretty hard to beat. Doing 4 shows with Jonas Bros was really amazing and so was LMFAO and Ke$ha. I recently DJ’d a side stage at The Electric Daisy Carnival at Met Life Stadium, that was insane. I was not allowed in the festival because I was too young, so they gave me a set at the exit gates as the crowd left. Armin Van Buuren finished his set and like 25,000 people came dancing out of the gates and I got to spin for them for about 30 minutes…. I have been fortunate enough to have opened for or perform with some of the greatest artists in music but my ultimate wish is perform at Madison Square Garden in NYC – as a guitar player for Jax or as a DJ or as a kazoo player in the circus…I don’t care how it happens, but its gonna happen!
But to answer your question, as a guitarist with Jax I think that opening for someone like Lady Gaga would be pretty sick…as a DJ, I think I would like to open for Tiesto or Skrillex but party with Pauly D!
I can tell you that for now, I’m pretty happy about what’s going on in my career…I am doing what I love to do, with people that I love and respect…bottom line is that I’m living my dream.
We’re super excited to see what DJ Salerno has in store for Camplified, and we can’t wait to hear his creative twist on the era’s hottest music! Check him out on Twitter at @mikeyjaxsalerno, and you can find FREE downloads of DJ Salerno's hot beats right here! We've also got one of Mikey's songs down below, and we know you'll want to check it out.